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Race: The Power of an Illusion Season 1 Episodes

Season 1 Episode Guide

Season 1

3 Episodes 2003 - 2003

Episode 1

The Differences Between Us

Thu, Apr 24, 2003 60 mins

"The Differences Between Us" (Part 1 of three) explores the science---or lack of science---behind race. "Race isn't biology [but] an idea we ascribe to biology," says anthropologist Alan Goodman, and students at a learning lab discover just that when they match up their DNA.. The hour also looks at the role of social and geographical factors. "Under the skin, we really are pretty much the same," sums up paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould. "But we get fooled because some of the visual differences really are quite striking." C.C.H. Pounder narrates.

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Episode 2

The Story We Tell

Thu, May 1, 2003 60 mins

"The Story We Tell" (Part 2 of three) surveys justifications for racism in the U.S. during the 18th and 19th centuries, beginning with Thomas Jefferson, who had to square the concept of "all men are created equal" with the reality of slavery. He did it by impying that "people who are enslaved are not quite men," says historian Ira Berlin. The hour also examines how white Americans rationalized their treatment of Native Americans; and recalls how "science" kept racism alive after emanicpation.

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Race: The Power of an Illusion, Season 1 Episode 2 image

Episode 3

The House We Live In

Thu, May 8, 2003 60 mins

Conclusion. "The House We Live In" explores reasons why race matters---economically, if not biologically---as it traces shifts in racial attitudes during the 20th century. At first, being "fully white" (as historian Mae Ngai puts it) did not apply to immigrants, but by World War II, enough had "pulled themselves up by their bootstraps" to join the club. Left out were blacks and Latinos, who were largely excluded from postwar suburbs---thanks in part to Federal Housing Authority lending policies. "It was constructing whiteness," says legal scholar John Powell. "Geography did the work of Jim Crow laws." C.C.H. Pounder narrates.

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